A 28-year-old Ghanaian resident in Tamale, Maxwell Atugba Abayeta known widely as Maxwell Peter has been named among the top 30 online fraudsters in the USA.
The suspect who was arrested and extradited to the US in August last year has been indicted and charged with wire fraud, money laundering, computer fraud and aggravated identity theft has been listed among others from West African countries to have perpetrated a massive fraud.
A communication from the United States Department of Justice website reads in part “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee is prosecuting numerous individuals in connection with an international fraud perpetrated, in part, through online dating websites. If you have sent or been asked to send money to or on behalf of the following, you may be a victim in this case”.
It would be recalled that on August 23, 2017, a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee indicted Maxwell Peter, 27, whose given name is Maxwell Atugba Abayeta, and others with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit computer fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The indictment alleges that various Africa based co-conspirators committed, or caused to be committed, a series of intrusions into the servers and email systems of a Memphis based real estate company in June and July 2016. Using sophisticated anonymization techniques, including the use of spoofed email addresses and Virtual Private Networks, the co conspirators identified large financial transactions, initiated fraudulent email correspondence with relevant business parties and then redirected closing funds through a network of U.S.-based money mules to final destinations in Africa.